Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Restaurant Confessions

Adoration (Atom Egoyan, 2008)
*** (A Must-See)

Writer and director Atom Egoyan's Adoration is a Canadian social drama which questions the notion of community, family and personal identity in a deindividualizing metropolitan in a inextricably digital age. Egoyan one of the fore-front Canadian auteur is a cerebral filmmaker whose films sometimes have more to say about the society we live in then it does on getting great performances out of actors. But if compared to last weekend latest escapism Hollywood release, Ron Howard's Angels & Demons, it is a welcome relief to have a film that is willing bring up themes that matter socially then to uncritically entertain. Adoration is a zeitgeist film which critiques upon many contemporary social issues including terrorism, xenophobia, social constructs and alienation. A few of Egoyan's signature touches which are visible in his 11th feature include a national backdrop; Toronto city, Canadian multi-ethnicity, traumatic life experiences and their emotional baggage, digital medias, classical guitar, and the casting of his wife Arsinée Khanjian.

Similar to Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter the film gyrates over a fatal car crash. In the latter on a brightly lit day in a remote snow-covered Canadian landscape the automobile was a large yellow elementary school bus full of children where the plunge lands the bus into a frozen river and the deaths devastate a small community. In Adoration it takes place at the dead of night leaving a argumentative family dinner, the driver Sami (Noam Jenkins), fuming with rage after indicting the patriarch for his social prejudices, and his wife Rachel (Rachel Blanchard), who is now intoxicated and drowsy, drive off into the night and accidently hit a transport truck head on.

The son of these two passed away lovers is a high school student Simon (Devon Bostick), a spinner of tall tales, who gets involved in appropriating a story of a failed martyr terrorist attack and attributes it to his dead parents for a class dictée. His french/drama teacher Sabine (Arsinée Khanjian) prods him into prolonging the original assignment by revising it and reading it to his classmates. This creative endeavor feeds his need for attention which leads to the online broadcasting of this story on the World Wide Web. Alienated in his dark bedroom he has a multitude of conversation on his MacBook. His videocast then spurs a backlash of indiscriminate responses. Without providing any moral value to each opinion Egoyan is posing a sublime question towards the internet generation. How are unknowledgeable adolescent supposed to differentiate and acknowledge morality, when there are models from all over the spectrum to be chosen from. This anonymous and opaque form of communication is contrasted when Sabine, who has now been laid off for ethically exceeding her performance as a teacher, car gets towed away by Simon's caretaker and Uncle Tom (Scott Speedman) and they both reveal their history and cultural background in a extremely revealing dialogue. In a shoddy Toronto diner their conversation, and confessions, resonate of real emotion and humanity that acknowledges that life is, and will always be, more personal in a physical surrounding then in a virtual window.-David Davidson

(Bytowne Cinema, 324 Rideau Street, 15/05-24/05)

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